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It ain’t easy being a Tango DJ….

By January 6, 2016Rant

Some people make suggestions to me whilst I am DJ-ing at a milonga. They sneak up and say something like:

1.  “.. have you got any Gotan Project?” 

Naturally I have, but at this tango dance event, where all the advertising says we play traditional tango music, I won’t be playing any Gotan.  If I choose to play some “Nuevo” music (e.g. at our Junction 8 dance nights) then it probably won’t be Gotan either, as I think that it is over-used and mostly rubbish for dancing.  In fact, there isn’t much nuevo tango that inspires me to dance.  The more I listen to it, the more it becomes derivative and repetitive to my ears.  I get my nuevo fix at the ‘Junction 8’ nights every 2 months, and that’s enough, thank you.

2.  “Can you play some Pugliese/Sassone?”

Would you go into a steak restaurant and interrupt the chef halfway through dinner to suggest that some Crayfish on the menu would be a good idea?  Probably not.  So why is it appropriate to suggest what I should play next, especially if it is not ‘Golden Age’ tango?  I’m working constantly when I am DJ-ing, watching what’s happening on the dance floor, and adjusting the playlist to suit the mood.  I hope you like the music mix, ‘cos if you do then you’ll come back next time.  If you don’t like it then perhaps you’ll find a DJ whose playlist is more to your liking.  If you want to be a tango DJ then you are welcome to try, and maybe then you’ll understand why unsolicited suggestions for playlist items are as welcome as asking Raymond Blanc for some HP sauce.

3. “What was that track you played (any number up to 20) Tandas ago? Can I have a copy of it?”

I spend hours locked in my study listening to Tango tracks, reviewing my repertoire to keep our music fresh and interesting.  It’s part of the job, and I love it.  Every now and then I come across a hidden gem; a jewel of a track that becomes a favourite.  Those tracks are the reward for the rest of the time that is spent listening to poor quality recordings or indifferent songs.  My playlists are my intellectual property; they are what define me as a DJ.  So I would rather not give away those jewels that I took hours to find. I hope you understand. Goodbye.

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